Valerie Gresser PLEASANT RIDGE ELEMENTARY, KNOXVILLE, TN
1st Grade ELA : Unit #19 - How Do We Help The Earth? : Lesson #5

The Lorax - Day Two

Objective: SWBAT identify cause and effect relationships, infer based on clues from the story and determine the theme of the story.
Standards: RL.1.1 RL.1.2 RL.1.3
Subject(s): English / Language Arts
60 minutes
1 Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation - 0 minutes

Today we are going to finish up our work on "The Lorax."  We are going to be working on more cause and effect relationships, answering questions,  inferring and predicting and determining the theme of our story. We have covered all these skills this year in class, and, since I did this unit with my class during the last week of school, I was using this unit as a recap and review of the different comprehension skills we've worked on throughout the year. Like yesterday, the first part of the lesson will be guided, just to refresh the students' memories. The last parts of our lesson will be independent practice for students.

When we explore cause and effects and answer questions we address RL1.1 and RL1.2.  We will be thinking about and writing about the characters thoughts and actions on our graphic organizer in order to determine our theme.  When we do this we are addressing standard RL1.3.

For today's lesson you will either need your Smartboard Helping Our Earth.notebook or Activboard Helping Our Earth.flipchart lesson. You'll also need the story "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss.  Your students will also need their response packets for yesterday.

2 Cause and Effect With the Once-ler and His Business - Guided Practice - 20 minutes

Students got together with their partners from yesterday and were sitting at their tables when the lesson started.  I said, "Today we are going to continue with 'The Lorax.'  We are going to see what happens next.  Let's see if he keeps making bad decisions or if he finally starts making some good decisions to help the Earth."

I started to read the story and read to the point where he was pumping junk into the pond.  I turned to slide 32 on the Smartboard. Then I said, "Let's look at our multi-flow map on page 9 of our packet.  The event is The Once-ler made his factory and his business even bigger. What was the effect of that?"  We had partner talk and then a whole group discussion.  The class agreed that his factory kept putting smog into the air and was ruining the air.  They recorded this on their multi-flow map on page 9 of their packet.  Then we read the question that followed.  The students used their multi-flow map as a tool to help them answer the question.  You can see snippets of this portion of the lesson here: Cause and Effect With the Once-ler Making His Business Bigger - Day Two The Lorax.mp4.

I turned to slide 33 on the Smartboard.  I said, "Turn to page 10 in your packet.  The event is The Once-ler is pumping Gluppity-Glupp and Schloppity-Schlopp into the pond. What is the effect of that?"   After having partner and class discussions, the students agreed that the pond got polluted, the habitat got polluted and the fish had to go find a different habitat.  The students recorded this on their multi-flow map to organize their thoughts on page 10. Then after reading the question that followed, the students used their multi-flow maps as a tool to help them answer the question.  You can see this portion of the lesson here: Cause and Effect With the Once-ler Pumping Into the Pond - Day Two The Lorax.mp4.

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Getting Into a Routine
Routines and Procedures

You've seen in the last two videos that we have a routine for how we approach looking at text and answering questions.  If you've seen any of my other lessons you know I've reflected on why oral language helps students to close the achievement gap in reading.  I've mentioned a study called the 30 million word gap before.  I now want to share with you a video from Dr. Todd Risley who is a professor at the University of Alaska.  The video that I am linking to had such a profound effect on me that I significantly changed the way I taught.  I increased how much my students talked in the classroom by 10 fold.  You may be overwhelmed when trying to incorporate the Common Core standards in the classroom.  If you change just one thing - let it be how much children talk to each other in meaningful, academic conversations.  I have seen first hand how achievement gaps have closed, and my strugglers have accomplished more in my room than ever before.  Get into a routine to get those kids talking.  It felt funny for me at the beginning of the year, but I focused on this so much this year that right now it is something I naturally do in my teaching now.

3 Cause and Effect - The Last Tree and a Story - Independent Practice - 20 minutes

I continued to read and read until the part where the Once-ler tells his story to the boy.  I turned to slide 34 and said, "The event is The last Truffula Tree gets cut down.  What is the effect of that?"  Students recorded this on their multi-flow map on page 11 of their packet.  Then we read the question that followed and students used their multi-flow map as a tool to answer their question.  Check out my students in action here: Cause and Effect - The Last Truffula Tree Gets Cut Down - Day Two The Lorax.mp4.

I had students turn to page 12 of their packet and I turned to slide 35.  I said, "The event is the Once-ler tells his story to the little boy. What is the effect of that?"  Once again, we recorded our information on the multi-flow map on page 12.  Then we read the question that followed, and my students used their multi-flow map as a tool to help them answer the question.  Watch what a great job they did here: Cause and Effect - The Once-ler Tells His Story - Day Two The Lorax.mp4.

4 Inferring and Predicting What Will Happen Next In the Story - Independent Practice - 10 minutes

I had students turn to page 13 in their packets and I went to slide 36. I said, "Let's look at the this first box that says "Clues From the Text."  What just happened in the story? What did the Once-ler just give the boy?"  The students agreed that the Once-ler gave the boy the last Truffula seed.  I said, "Let's record that in our first box." 

Then I said, "The next box says "What We Know About Habitats."  Talk with your partner about what you already know that a habitat has and what a habitat needs."  I gave students time to talk and then the class agreed that habitats need plants, trees, clean water, and animals.  We recorded this in the second box. 

Then I said, "Now it's time for us to infer.  You know that the Once-ler gave the boy the last Truffula seed.  You know that habitats need plants, trees, clean water and animals.  What can you predict and infer what will happen next.  Talk to your partner about this.  Go." After partners talked the class had a discussion and agreed that the boy was going to plant the seed, more trees will grow and the habitat will come back to normal.  We recorded this in the last box on our graphic organizer. Then the students used this graphic organizer to answer their question on page 14 of their packet.  You can see my students in action here: Inferring and Predicting What Will Happen Next - Day Two The Lorax.mp4.

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5 Writing About the Theme - Independent Practice - 15 minutes

I finished reading the book, and then I turned to slide 37.  I said, "Dr. Seuss definitely wanted us to learn a lesson from reading this book.  The lesson that we learn is called the theme.  I want you to  write down the lesson that you think he wanted us to learn.  We have done this before in other lessons, so I know you'll be able to do this now."  Students wrote this in the bottom part of our graphic organizer. 

Then I said, "O.K - now we have to prove that we're right by finding evidence."  Students recorded these pieces of evidence on their graphic organizer.  Then we read the question on page 16 together, and the students used their graphic organizer as a tool to help them answer the question.  You can see my students in action right here: Writing About the Theme of Our Story - The Lorax Day Two.mp4.

6 Our Closure - 5 minutes

The koosh ball closure is my student's favorite closure.  All I do is ask my students questions to recap what we've learned that day.  They love catching and throwing the ball to each other.  It just takes something ordinary and turns it into something really fun.  I start with the koosh ball and ask the first question.  I throw it to someone who wants to answer the question and they answer.  I continue to ask questions and whoever is holding the ball gets to throw it to someone else.

The questions I asked were:

  • What was the effect of the Once-ler making his business bigger and bigger?
  • What is the effect of The Once-ler pumping Gluppity-Glupp and Schloppity-Schlopp into the pond?
  • What is the effect of the last Truffula Tree being cut down?
  • What is the effect of the Once-ler telling his story to the boy?
  • What did we predict the boy would do with the seed?
  • What was the theme of the story?

You can see our closure here: Our Koosh Ball Closure - Day Two The Lorax.mp4.